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Raglan Sleeves Altered: Vogue 8146

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(Originally posted at The Sewing Divas’ blog but reprinted here so it is more easy to read)

This past January I was searching for a pattern to use with a thick silk that looks handloomed when I quickly cut a muslin of Vogue 8146

I cut a 12 straight from the pattern after tissue fitting. I have not made nor fitted a woven raglan sleeved in many years because they do not flatter my body type and I was terribly wrong in choosing the size 12 for this pattern. The sleeves were quite tight and even though I had done a full bust adjustment there was pulling across the front and the back of the jacket. It was also unflatteringly short.

Diva Els, a well-trained womenswear tailor living in The Netherlands, critiqued this muslin using photos and we posted the critique here on January 11, 2007, Critique by Els, Mulsin By Mary Beth

You can see her marked photos at the original post so I won’t reprint them here. Suffice it to say the jacket was too small all over but I loved the warm boucle wool fabric and decided to give alternations a go.

First I removed the stitching from the top of the two-part sleeve at the neckline where the collar was attached all the way to the bottom of the sleeve. Then I cut an insert the length of the sleeve.


I flipped this piece over to reveal the other side of the fabric and stitching from the top side of the sleeve I created a sort of slotted seam to outline and give more definition to the contrasting insert.


Across the shoulders there was still a pull so I let out the back raglan seams but the front sleeve was very fluffy and required major surgery to bring it onto a better shape over the front upper chest.

The sleeves were a little floppy so I cut a weft fusible to retro fit into the sleeve and this allows us to see the final shape of the sleeve without seam allowances.


Here’s the original pattern shape for the sleeves. Very different, no?


I also cut a gusset to fit in the underarm seam area. I shaped it to have less fullness in the back than in the front.



Here’s the gusset from the outside, hardly noticeable in the boucle weave


To balance out the slooping shoulders that make raglans such a bad idea for my pear shaped body I added these wonderful thick raglan shoulderpads. It’s pictured here upside down with the sleeve inside out.


And now that I have shared the sleeve reconstruction with you I will line them with some anti-static lining called “Hang Loose”, stitching it in by hand just to make life easier.

In order to add to the length of the jacket I copied the curve of the bottom edge and cut a strip approximately 3″ wide. I faced it with a silk cotton from Thailand that I am so in love with. It is also used to face the collar, removing some of the bulk on that area as well. I have no explanation for my attraction to this fabric, none what so ever. I just love it.


Again, I flipped the fabric to show the contrasting side. Attaching this additional strip was very tricky because the side and back of the jacket are on the bias at the hemline. The thickness of the seams at the side give the unlined jacket a bit of a fliip out over the hips.


The unlined jacket stretched a bit at the true bias on the sides of the back.


But I think it turned out all right


in the end


I had made winged cuffs to add to the bottom of the sleeves but decided against using them and even altered one to become the bow in the back at the top of the inverted pleat. Alas, I could not find that bow when time came to add it so I left it off. I think I’m glad I did.

This jacket style is best worn with a pegged skirt. The sheath I am wearing is self drafted, unlined, and made very quickly from a wonderful Jasco doubleknit.

I hope some of my ideas for fitting this jacket can help those who are puzzling through this cute but difficult to alter, style from Vogue. I hope it will not become “dated” too quickly.

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About Mary Beth

I am fascinated by changing patterns and colored threads. I sew garments and am teaching myself to machine knit. Since selling the building that housed my workrooms, The Stitchery, I'm searching for a place to set up the knitting machines again. There must be room here somewhere!

8 responses

  1. Mary Beth, I love your jacket. The lines are great and the fabric just beautiful. I might consider purchasing this pattern.

    What is the name of the “silk cotton from Thailand”? It sounds like an interesting fabric. Where do you get it. It is worth investigating.

  2. Amazing, soooo much better, thank you very much for your quick reply. This is like reading in the daylight, compared to reading at night without light in the other blog. I hope something will be done about it.
    Thanks again Mary Beth and I guess I’ll be visiting here now to save my eyes.

  3. Gemma: as they say around here instead of You’re Welcome: “My pleasure, Treasure”

    Patsijean: The fabric was made available at The American Sewing Expo ( (bottom of page) by Theresa Mertens, owner of the retail section of Hands of the Hills, however she closed it in 2005, and now runs her textile biz under the name of BohemainElement ( She may still be carrying the fabric. Hands of the Hills now only exists as a wholesale jewelry company (

    OK, probably more than you wanted to know…. 🙂 but you know how ah loves da fabrics

  4. Gosh, what a lovely jacket. You look great next to your lovely cat! The fabric is just a sweet find in itself.

  5. Love, love, love this jacket. You look gorgeous in your dress and jacket. As my DH says, “You clean up well”

  6. Looks Fabulous MaryBeth. And I know that fabric. My friend bought it, so I didn’t, but it is lovely. And it looks so nice in the finished jacket. I started to read this yesterday but got totally caught up in Els eval and never got back here, so thank-you for the reminder over at SG.
    I think you’re very right too, this design is best worn with a narrow skirt.
    Very flattering finished product.

  7. Well, Wow, Heather, that’s not the news I’d expect concerning this man! Guess it goes to show you just never know….

    His website is up at a different address so I changed the link here.

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